This morning I received the usual notifications of new books, resources and online help for goal setting. I read the details and they were indeed impressive: two “how to….”, several “put yourself in a go-get mindset” and of course “what is it you really want?”
I filed them in my “Motivational Literature” box and clicked on to my Twitter account and up popped a Tweet: “When you can’t change the direction of the wind – adjust your sails” H Jackson Brown). I smiled at how powerful I found it in comparison to the reams of motivational material. What was it that stilled me? Was it because, contrary to my personal and professional principles of “no one can motivate you – but they can harness how you get motivated” this simple statement did indeed motivate me?
Then I realised – it was an analogy, a simple analogy and analogies will always be the most powerful communication tool when we are setting out to influence, motivate and inspire because it is in the analogy that people find a resonance.
Long before therapists and Motivational Coaches – human beings learnt through analogy and metaphor. In every culture in the world, there are stories and fables that children learn from. Even in the simple tale of “The boy who cried wolf” there is a more profound lesson for children as they set out in their development than “don’t tell lies”.
Change is not simple, it can be immediate, but its not simple – our subconcious doesn’t trust it and will try to sabotage it but nothing is more effective, in my experience, than softly setting an analogy on the table and letting the client hear it, muse over it and pick it up if they so wish.
I have written many times about I utilize the power of analogy and metaphor in my work and the only books I buy these days are about developing these skills – because language moves us, and it is when we are moved that we think, and it is when we think that we are moved to act and it is only when we are moved to act – that we change things.